Archive for February 9th, 2010

When writers are sued, who pays? (cont.)

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Some of you may recall my post about Carol Loeb Shloss, author of Lucia Joyce: To Dance in the Wakehere.

Shloss was triumphant in her David-and-Goliath case against the James Joyce estate, which I wrote about here.  The battle-scarred, but victorious scholar wrote an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education that, in part, argued that universities might consider footing the tab when their scholars face fair-use  lawsuits for their scholarship.

In two letters, academia responds.  The lawyers at the University of North Florida argued that university undertake legal defense when they have a stake in the output — for example, when they own patents.  Hence, the question is one of ownership.  Similarly, Pennsylvania State University Press argues that scholars might reconsider whether they want to risk having their output classified as “works made for hire” by the university. Sandy Thatcher, of the press, also had a lively role in the comment section of the Chronicle of Higher Ed article.

In any case, the Florida law folks agree that the situation is “lamentable” for scholars who face litigious literary behemoths.  So we’ll probably be hearing about the issue for some time to come.